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Articles in Backup & Archiving

Don't get burned: Put some SPF 50 on your business continuity/disaster recovery plan

(Jeff Godlewski, ComputerWorld) On vacation, forgetting your sunscreen may lead to a painful burn, but forgetting key components of an organization's business continuity (BC)/disaster recovery (DR) plan hurts a lot more. Overlooking even one item can weaken your entire network and mean significant losses in revenue and productivity.

Whether you are just getting started or refreshing an outdated plan, there is something to help SMBs make sure they are covered – running a business impact analysis. A BIA can help define key BC/DR needs. Even better, often times a trusted technology partner can provide assistance, running the analysis and delivering an objective assessment of what your organization needs to survive – literally and figuratively.

A BIA is a breakdown of the potential risks and real vulnerabilities an organization is facing, and it provides direction for minimizing and mitigating the risks before they become a real problem.[...]The steps for implementation and the chosen solutions should fit your unique situation. Fortunately, there are many good options to consider that will help get you where you need to go:
- Take steps to protect data
- Consider the cloud
- Co-location is also an option
- Leverage a mobile workforce
- Review power needs
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20 Tech Habits to Improve Your Life

(Gina Trapani, PC World) Technology is supposed to make life easier, but it doesn't seem that way when you're struggling to wrangle 289 new e-mail messages, dealing with a hard-drive crash, or suddenly realizing that you left an important file on the office computer. Thankfully, plenty of tools can help.

A few new habits can make the difference between staying on task, finding what you need, and getting things done - or having a tech meltdown:
1. Telecommute by Remotely Controlling Your Office Computer
2. Schedule Automatic Hard-Drive Backups, Locally and Remotely
3. Work Faster and More Efficiently Without a Mouse
4. Clear Out Your Inbox Every Day
[...]
Read more by following the "full article" link.
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Security of virtualization, cloud computing divides IT and security pros


(Ellen Messmer, Network World) Is moving to virtualization  and cloud computing making network security easier or harder? When some 2,100 top IT and security managers in 27 countries were asked, the response revealed a profound lack of consensus, showing how divided attitudes are within the enterprise.

The "2010 State of Enterprise Security Survey - Global Data" report shows that about one-third believe virtualization and cloud computing make security "harder," while one-third said it was "more or less the same," and the remainder said it was "easier." [...]

The survey showed that the median annual budget for enterprise security in 2010 is $600,000, an 11% increase over 2009, with yet another 11% increase anticipated in 2011.[...]In fact, 40% of the respondents indicated their organizations were currently using applications in the cloud in some way -- yet 40% said it would be more difficult to prevent or react to data loss under their firm's cloud-computing strategy.[...]
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Cloud storage adoption slow for businesses

(Andy Moon, TechRepublic) A new survey found that only 8% of businesses (small, medium, and enterprise) have any current plans to utilize cloud storage and only 3% are using it now. These results suggest that, while there is a lot of potential for cloud storage, concerns about privacy, security, and pricing are keeping most companies from moving data out of their data centers, at least as a primary storage option.

Forrester analyst Andrew Reichman writes in the report that “there is long-term potential for storage-as-a-service, but Forrester sees issues with guaranteed service levels, security, chain of custody, shared tenancy, and long-term pricing as significant barriers that still need to be addressed before it takes off in any meaningful way.”

One interesting finding of the survey is that companies are more interested in the cloud for back-up storage rather than general purpose storage, which requires a much smaller leap of faith and is far easier to implement than remote primary storage.
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Tips for ensuring a user-friendly email archiving system

(Stephen Foskett, Storage) As companies look to archive their user's emails for business and compliance and/or litigation reasons, finding an archiving product that fits your company's needs can be a time-consuming process. While cost is always a consideration when selecting any new technology, a user-friendly email archiving system must also be given strong consideration.

The No. 1 factor in positioning an email archiving project for success is user acceptance. If your system can deliver in the following three areas, you'll have much happier users.
  1. Complete integration. Will the user see an unfamiliar Web link or a reassuring Microsoft Outlook or Notes window? This is the first question most users ask when they're being trained to use a new archiving system, and one that every information technology pro should keep in mind when selecting an email archiving product. The less hassle and more familiarity there is, the better the user experience will be.
  2. Offline access. Can a user access the archive when they're on a plane? A system that cuts users off from the bulk of their mail just because they're not on the network is bound to generate complaints. It might also lead users to start "underground archives" in PST or NSF files, undermining your record-retention policy. While administrators can disable the creation of these personal archives, this further frustrates offline users with no access to their historic messages.
  3. Mobile access. If you give users all of their mail no matter where they are or how they access the system, they'll love it. This is especially true when it comes to PST ingestion; the ability to access their personal historical mail from the Web on their BlackBerry is a powerful benefit that users will instantly understand and embrace.
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Email archiving needs soar as e-discovery requests rise

(Carol Sliwa, TechTarget) Regulatory compliance requirements confronting financial service firms triggered a rush of email archiving products more than a decade ago, and today, the need to retain emails for legal discovery is driving a new wave of updates and improvements in the e-discovery market. Whether it's high-profile, high-penalty court cases involving corporate defendants, or simply the amount of data storage that email and its attachments eat up, storage managers are increasingly putting email archiving at the top of their priority lists.

IT organizations that purchase email archiving products chiefly to address storage management headaches often also wind up seeking additional tools or add-on modules to respond to litigation-related demands. As a result, the email archiving vendor landscape is evolving so vendors can compete on reporting tools, data classification capabilities, and search functions.

Save, delete: The email archiving problem
One challenge for IT shops is identifying an email archiving policy that makes sense. Saving everything does not, experts say. Having an email retention and deletion policy for email that is based on preservation dates set by state and federal regulations, for example, is a good starting point. Once a litigation hold is placed, or an e-discovery request is made, a company must often change that policy, and start retaining many more documents. But a company is not likely to be held liable for emails or attachments that were eliminated as part of a reasonable retention and deletion policy prior to the existence of a litigation hold - as long as it was applied regularly across the board without exception.

Best practices for email archiving often start with the prickly issue of establishing retention policies for users. The shorter the retention period, the harder it will be to enforce. A 90-day retention policy, for instance, sounds good in theory, until users balk and seek out other ways to save what they consider important emails.
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With Archiving, Are You In or Out?

"What to do about data archiving? Even while many vendors continue to tout their software platforms that enable you to establish your own internal archiving system, they are rapidly buying into hosted archive technology that lets you lease the capability from someone else.

So which is the better play? It basically comes down to two considerations: how much data you need to preserve, and how much you trust others to keep it secure and available. And it’s precisely because each enterprise will have different answers to those questions that vendors are covering their bets by adding hosted solutions to their portfolios.[..]"
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Top tips for email management and archiving

Though around 30 per cent of organisations have some form of archiving in place, most consider that this would not constitute adequate control.  A recent survey by C2C found that 65% of respondents had set mailbox capacity limits meaning in effect, that end users were responsible for managing their own mailboxes.  In practice, this self regulation probably results in significant lost productivity and constitutes a poor strategy for managing and discovering data.  In this article, we consider the top five questions being by resellers interested in recommending email management:

1.    Is Email control a management or archive issue? 
It is a management issue and archiving is part of the solution.  Resellers should identify a solution that identifies unnecessary emails, handles attachments and provides automated quota management which should be part of a strategic ‘cradle to grave’ management of email. It isn’t a case of archiving email merely to reduce the live storage footprint, but part of a well thought-out strategy, designed hand-in-hand with the customer that aids productivity and time management and that can be implemented by an IT department simply and economically.
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IT Users Struggle on Email Archiving - survey

Employees are failing to properly archive emails, according to research, because they are often too busy or too unsure of their IT skills.

Over 75% of employees said they received no guidance on the requirements and methods for email storage, and more than a third said their company has no email policy, according to the survey.

A third of workers of the 260 workers interviewed said they had lost important electronic documents and never recovered them. More than half said email archiving is too time-consuming, and thirty percent find it “complicated” or “unreliable”.

Some 41 percent leave files attached to emails forever, and only half said they have an enforced limit on the storage space for their messages. Over a quarter save the files to the company system, and 28 percent save them to their hard drive.

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Email Compliance

A simple 5 step guide to email compliance, specifically geared to the non-technical amongst us.

With 26 billion e-mails whizzing round the world in any one day, and the numbers going up, email compliance is a matter that many companies often put on the ‘back burner’.  The consequences of this approach can result in litigation, financial penalties, HR problems as well as damage to company reputation.  Corporate governance requires organizations retain their records for a specific period of time, which by default includes e-mails. Although much legislation pre-dates the Internet the regulations relating to email are subject to the same ones as paper documents. 

With many regulatory requirements being unearthed such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the Data Protection Act (European Union), Freedom of Information Act (UK) etc that often contradict each other, this article aims to shed some light on this area and provide you with five basic rules for email compliance that will protect you from potential litigation whilst at the same time provide you with some user benefits.  Effective email compliance does not have to be expensive and with data storage costs currently in the region of £1 per gigabyte they are affordable.

Rule 1
The first rule is to take responsibility for archiving emails away from the user.  Don’t burden them with the decision making process of selecting which e-mail is important and which one is not, simply automate the whole process.  Capture all e-mails that have been sent or received either internally or externally in their original format and archive them permanently in a secure place. 

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Ten Considerations for Email Archiving

More and more companies are archiving their users' emails for business and legal reasons. If you haven't standardised on an archiving product, it can be a time-consuming process to find one that fits your company's needs; there are many choices available and each tool has unique features.[...]

The following 10 questions will help you narrow down the available email archiving products to those that best serve your needs.[...]

1. How complete is the archive?
Not all email archiving solutions capture every email, but that might not be desired. In some environments, only messages sent or received from the outside world need to be retained, so an email archive that uses a gateway approach would be acceptable. But many organisations require a more complete set of email messages, so the archive must interact with the mail server to ensure that all messages, both internal and external, are retained.

Even if an email archiving application captures inside and outside messages, some messages may still fall through the cracks. Archives that "sweep" through the mail system on a scheduled basis can miss messages that are sent, received and deleted between sweeps. Since every message has both a sender and a recipient, both of them would have to delete the message (and potentially empty their trash folder) to hide a message in this way, which is often called a "double delete" scenario. Organisations that are focused on compliance must ensure that their email archive captures every message.
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The Need to Archive Email Is a Growing Concern

Networkworld.com has recently conducted a study asking decision-makers in midsized and large organizations in North America about how concerned they were on a variety of issues. Here are some of the results:

Email archiving:
- 36% of decision-makers are more concerned about the need to archive e-mail today than they were 12 months ago.
- 30% are more concerned about e-discovery issues than they were a year ago. Only 12% and 13% of decision makers are less concerned about e-mail archiving and e-discovery, respectively.

Security issues:
- 12% are more concerned today than a year ago about this eventuality, while more than twice as many are less concerned
- Decision makers are significantly more concerned about spyware infecting their networks while even more are concerned about Web-based threats and the amount of spam that they receive.
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How to Purchase an Email Archiving Tool

Email's popularity has had a profound impact on archiving. But not all email archiving tools are created equal. An archiving tool must interface with your email or database system, yet impose few performance penalties against the applications using the email archive. Your company should have retention rules planned ahead of time, and you should consider the need for index/search capabilities to address e-discovery demands. Since the volume of email is constantly growing, an email archiving tool must scale well. All these factors come into play for anyone purchasing an email archiving tool:

Compatibility with your current software
Email archiving tools should interface closely with your existing email or database system. The issue lies in the number of platforms that are compatible and the level of compatibility for each platform. Smaller organizations with no plans to change their email platform might be better off with a narrowly focused email archiving product; large organizations that use more then one email/database system will benefit from a tool with cross-platform compatibility.
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What Is Email Archiving?

E-mail archiving is the process of systematically recording and saving copies of e-mail correspondence for records keeping and documentation purposes.

US courts have issued guidelines on what is called 'e-discovery' or exchanging information using electronic means in legal proceedings. The American Bar Association has, in turn, warned lawyers that e-discovery apparently covers all means of electronic communications – including storage media, personal computers, laptops, PDAs, mobile phones, and so on.

Aside from these sources of information, companies must be prepared to show that their records have not been tampered with. In the same way, they should be able to prove – if needed – that their opponent's records have been tampered with.

The legal requirements straddle into practical issues. Tracing an email trail (for litigation purposes, for example) often results in time spent and people 'dedicated' to a single task – searching through storage media, checking and counter-checking veracity and accuracy of data, and in some cases attempting recovery of information that has been deleted – all under the pressure of heavy penalties in the event of failure.
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In-house Email Archiving Systems vs Hosted Systems

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an in-house email archiving system verses a hosted system?

Those are really the two principle avenues for email archiving. A "hosted" system is basically an archiving system that is contracted through an outside company. It's an outside service that connects into your email server(s) and captures email as they come through -- moving and storing the email offsite at a remote location. Hosted services are either priced by mailbox-per-year or by the amount of storage consumed.
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How to Effectively Address Archiving Requirements for In-place Messaging Solutions

This white paper describes the integration of the AXIGEN Mail Server with the Mailarchiva archiving solution: the benefits of the integration, how it pro-actively addresses the issues arising for businesses of all sizes that work towards complying with IT Governance standards and concepts, as well as the actual step-by-step configuration procedure:

Today's business world manifests an ongoing concern and hosts frequent discussions regarding Corporate Governance and Information Technology (IT) Governance, facts that result in increased pressure for certain players in the market. Thus, companies dedicated to maintaining their competitive advantages and reputation are re-evaluating their strategies and policies, putting their best efforts into genuinely committing to these concepts.

An often overlooked aspect of complying with the IT Governance discipline is rigorous, safe and standard compliant email archiving. A company's willingness to implement such an archiving system faces two major issues. Firstly, there are the system users, who are sometimes prone to laziness and tend to only save the most important and very recent email messages, while deleting the others. Secondly, introducing such a system yields complex IT administration procedures to be followed which subsequently impose serious overhead.
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